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Restoration and Faith

            Restoration and Faith seem to go hand-in-hand. Often, this is true. Often, this is not true. Concepts of restoration and faith are too vast to be explored in this post with any significant depth. However, there are a few points that may spark curiosity as we move through this Lenten season in preparation for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. The invitation is to consider and engage what I bring to you today with a sense of playfulness and curiosity. 

         To help facilitate engagement, you’ll need to know clearly how I conceptualize restoration and faith. By implication, restoration lends itself toward bringing something or someone back to a condition prior to the occurrence of damage or loss, sometimes surpassing the initial condition. Faith, fundamentally, is belief; belief in or belief for. As human-beings, we need restoration and faith. We’re all guided by those needs and deeply suffer when they are not met. Whether it is the most basic daily requirement of getting restful sleep to counter sleep deprivation or eating a satisfying meal to quell hunger, each act is one of restoration and faith.

            As I consider the sacred texts of Scripture, the symbiotic relationship of restoration and faith are undeniable. In this season, the story of the woman with the twelve year hemorrhage in Mark 5:25-34 speaks most vividly of the relationship of restoration and faith. Perhaps the chronically ill woman had heard of Jesus long before that moment of healing or maybe only minutes before, but one thing is certain, her faith led to her restoration both physically and spiritually. Desperate and dejected, she participated in her healing and took action by touching the hem of Jesus’s garment. He, being nearly crushed by the crowd on his way to resurrect a little girl who had died shortly after He had been told of her illness, was keenly sensitive to this woman’s faith in the midst of her crushing heartache. Twelve years of suffering physically, socially, emotionally, psychologically, and financially can strip most of us of any pretense. She is presented to us as a suffering woman whose faith is child-like in that her expectation for healing was boundless. It is possible that she was a child when her traumatic suffering began. The possibility of a full and thriving life, pregnant with possibilities had been closed off to her. She had become acquainted with loss. 

            Obviously, it is not coincidental that the girl Jesus is on His way to resurrect in Mark 5:35-43 is twelve years old and the hemorrhaging woman has suffered for twelve years. One story seems to serve as unclouded reflections of the other, building in levels of severity. It is never helpful to speculate whose suffering or circumstance was worse; a woman who had suffered a twelve year physical death of her womb (and all its social, emotional, psychological, and financial implications) or a girl who suffered illness and death as a twelve year old youth. Both of their lives had been truncated by trauma. Both had known death and resurrection, albeit differently. The hemorrhaging woman (re)gained daughtership through her faith which led to Jesus healing her and meant that she (re)gained space, place, and beloved identity while the twelve year girl had daughtership uninterrupted and received resurrection because of her space, place, and beloved identity.

            I suspect that everyone who has lived long enough has gone through cycles of death and resurrection. It is highly improbable that the cycle is one of literal death and resurrection but we, in varying degrees, are acquainted with death and life. It is true for me. I have suffered death of dreams and some were slow agonizing deaths that no amount of life-support would suffice while others were immediate deaths that left me with a symptomology similar to criteria needed for a PTSD diagnosis. I had to memorialize the deaths, bury them, and grieve them. Some of my dreams are long dead and remain dead. However, a few of my buried dreams Jesus has called forth and life returned.

            Remember, I said earlier that restoration and faith seem to go hand-in-hand at times and, at times, they do not. It is not necessary to introduce another story when the story of Jairus’s daughter supports my next point. However, the Scriptures give us an even more poignant text. As we transition from the scene of a suffering woman being restored and a little girl being resurrected, now the scene is Jesus teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath and while He is teaching sees a woman with a spirit of infirmity bent over 18 years, unable to stand-up straight (Luke 13:10-13). Jesus saw her, called her over to Himself, loosed her from her infirmity, laid hands on her and she was healed immediately. Had this woman sought healing before this moment with Jesus? We do not know. What the text clearly lets us know is that Jesus initiated the healing, which did not require this woman to act on faith to be restored. Jesus saw her and had compassion on her.

            As I see it, each story has a reverberating message that reaches us today which is Jesus’s utter willingness to rule over death and loss on our behalf whether or not we are actively seeking restoration and whether or not restoration happens the way we imagined. I wonder if that leads us to places of quiet rest; confident that Jesus sees us and is moved with compassion.

- Linda Royster, Director of The Anchor House

 

 

Donor Spotlight: Meet Travis & Maggie Bartlett

Travis Bartlett attended East Carolina University and lived in Greenville, NC for over five years which is where he met Chris and Anna originally. He became invested in their mission at Restore One and began working with them as their graphic designer. Bartlett had a great first impression of the work being done at Restore One by Chris and Anna, “I was blown away by their dedication, commitment and passion for the mission.”

Travis & Maggie Bartlett

Travis & Maggie Bartlett

 

Travis Bartlett and his wife Maggie Bartlett had one question when it came to donating to Restore One, “if not now, when?” To that they answered, “the time will never be right or perfect to give, volunteer or get involved. If an issue, organization or person is tugging on your heart, listen, be obedient and say yes. This is a worthy cause and even though we can’t do everything, we can do something.” They value their continued relationship with Chris and Anna and believe deeply in the work that is being done at Restore One. “We love remaining connected to the mission and informed about how to fight domestic minor sex trafficking. It’s exciting to watch Restore One grow and make moves in the community,” stated Travis and Maggie.

Being connected to Restore One’s mission as a donor is a unique and incredibly important way to fight against domestic minor sex trafficking. - Travis & Maggie Bartlett

After answering the important question of “if not now, when?” they began supporting Restore One regularly because of Maggie’s experience when she lived in Kenya, “she worked with women and girls who were recovering victims of sex trafficking, rape and prostitution. She became deeply passionate about victims of sexual violence finding healing and redemption and rediscovering their worth. Being connected to Restore One’s mission as a donor is a unique and incredibly important way to fight against domestic minor sex trafficking. We believe in Chris and Anna and their team, and stand behind their steadfast work at Restore One. We cannot do everything, but we can do something. Monthly contributions are one small way to be a part of something incredibly important and powerful,” said Travis. If there was one thing they wish people knew about Restore One, it would be that they knew that it truly does make a difference in the community.

Travis and Maggie are from Denver, Colorado and in their free time they travel and love exploring the Colorado mountains on backpacking, hiking and fishing trips. “We love hosting and visiting with family and friends who are involved with Young Life in Colorado. We also eat out way too often and are always down to watch another re-run of Friends,” said Travis.         

Thank you so much for being a volunteer/donor at Restore One. We look forward to opening The Anchor House in 2017, and we could not do this work without you. Thanks!

Restoring The Anchor House

Over the past two weeks since The Anchor House flooded one thing has come to light and become very clear. People from all across America care about this mission, and want to see The Anchor House open. After these recent events, it would be easy to lose sight and hope, but with the continued love and support we have been shown, we remain focused and committed to what Jesus has called us to do.

As the team at Restore One sets its sights on the future, it is clear we have work to do. We hope to have the AH restored in the next two months, and if this happens it will not set us back from the timeline of opening the AH. Below is what has been donated and what we still need to restore the AH.

- Replacement of sheetrock (Donated)

- New insulation (Donated)

- Replacement of cabinets (Donated)

- Painting (Need)

- Flooring (Need)

- Replacement of doors (Need)

- Replacement of baseboards (Need)

- Landscaping (Need)

- Re-rock driveway (Need)

I would like to ask that you and your family prayfully consider joining us in these efforts. It is clear that there is a community of people that want to see this mission fulfilled, I invite you to join this community. A community that cares about boys that have been sex trafficked.

To donate to these efforts visit TheGoFundMe page

Below are a couple of events that are benefiting the restoration of The Anchor House.

Corey's Collectables

ONE2016

 

The Anchor House Flooded... Now What?

“The greenest grass is found wherever the most rain falls.” - Streams in The Desert

The havoc caused by Hurricane Matthew is not a an isolated event but a catastrophic disaster for many communities. Last week, Chris and I watched news clips of the suffering in Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas and the entire east coast of the United States. The amount of destruction and number of lives lost by the effects of Matthew is profoundly heartbreaking. Our personal community of Eastern North Carolina is experiencing Hurricane Floyd level flooding. We are all in a state of emergency and we are all hurting. 

As many in Eastern North Carolina, Chris and I sorrowfully witnessed the flooding of a place that is very special to us, The Anchor House. Sunday afternoon waters seeped into The Anchor House flooding cottage one and the first floor of the main building. There was nothing we could have done to stop the flood waters. Our driveway became a lake and our buildings were consumed by water. In our inability to change or stop the destruction, we were and are still in shock to report The Anchor House is currently flooded.

It’s so hard to see God in the midst of such devastation, yet in faith we believe that He is there and somehow in His goodness will make sense of this wreckage. For those of you directly effected by Hurricane Matthew, Chris and I’s hearts go out to you, we join you in this season of suffering and believe that together we will walk this out. 

As soon as flood waters recede, Restore One volunteers will work together to restore all the damage done to The Anchor House. Over the next months, Chris and I ask that you remain resilient with us and continue to support the fulfillment of the mission and vision of Restore One. It is without a doubt that this is just another hurtle we must cross prior to opening the doors of The Anchor House to serve boys. 

While the Anchor was insured, unfortunately it was not insured for flooding. We caught the omission of flood insurance too late and the flood policy will not go into effect till October 30th. This was a mistake on our part, which we regret deeply and has added to the devastation we are already feeling. We also recognize that while we made a mistake His grace is and will continue to be sufficient to overcome these obstacles in of His mission and will to Rescue and Restore boys lives!

Over the next couple of weeks Restore One will be sharing ways you can get involved by physically volunteering and personally giving towards the revitalization of The Anchor House. In order for Restore One to fully recover from this natural disaster we need an estimated $80,000 to restore the damage done. 

Friends you are our family, Chris and I love the unique people that you are. Even in this devastation, I know that together we will recover and see that God in kindness will restore us in holy unfathomable ways. 

In humility,

Chris and Anna 

 

We have launched a GoFundMe Campaign to help raise the money to Restore The Anchor House. Click the button below to donate to these efforts.

How Restore One got Started

          The beginnings of Restore One were signaled by a holy cue and followed with blind faith. It was a wild idea that two young twenty somethings, newly married and totally naive to the underpinnings of the nonprofit world, could effectively pull off addressing such a complex topic that is so seldom spoken of within our western world. Chris and I had no clue what we were signing ourselves up for when we jumped into addressing the issues of sex trafficking as it pertains to men and boys. During the first few years and even now I feel like we are learning how to pilot as the plane is taking off. 

It was a wild idea that two young twenty somethings, newly married and totally naive to the underpinnings of the nonprofit world, could effectively pull off addressing such a complex topic that is so seldom spoken of within our western world.

 

    Restore One began during what I’d like to say was “casual” dinner conversation between Chris and I. We were both less than a year out from undergrad and from the marriage alter. The only things to our name were a cocker spaniel named Titus and a vehicle. We’d spent the past year raising support to work with another anti-trafficking organization as a dual package, me being the eager social worker and Chris as a former youth pastor. We’d been working for the company for about 6 months when Chris pitched an idea that sent me spinning. Maybe we had chicken that evening, I don't remember. All I recollected were his words, “Anna, I believe that God is calling us to start our own nonprofit organization.” I was dumbfounded by his statement and thought, “Man, he must have had a terrible day.” Ultimately I wasn’t listening to Chris but in his patient urging, he continued this conversation over another dinner and then the next day and the next and so on. You get the picture. 

    I did not want to start a nonprofit organization. Every bone in my body was terribly afraid of making such a fierce leap. Yet, as we began to pray, it was undeniable that God was calling us to start an organization dedicated to opening safe homes for survivors of sexual trafficking. At that point, we’d not even begun to dive into the particular needs for boys and men. It wasn’t until 6 months later that we made the shift and chose to pursue opening The Anchor House.        

    So with clenched teeth and watery eyes, Chris and I packed up our life in central North Carolina and moved back to our home town of Greenville. All that was concrete was the name Restore One and the beginnings of the vision. Looking back I realize we were on a ghost trail following God. It’s laughable because we had no clue where we were going to end up by just saying “yes” to the option placed before us. 

    Many people ask us, how did you start Restore One or what made you want to get involved. I believe that we made those choices consciously and subconsciously. It’s a no brainer for most, knowing that children should never be sold for sex and if they are, we must do our very best to restore all that was damaged; that is a conscious choice. Subconsciously, our own narratives are always taking flight. I’m convinced that we are drawn into this work through our own attempts to heal from past woundings. 

    Holding these concepts, I believe that we didn't choose Restore One but Restore One chose us. Beginnings, no matter the start, always cast us into the past long before launching us into the future. Our wellspring of healing began the year we waveringly plunged into addressing that boys and men are wrongfully sexually trafficking on United States soil. As Chris and I dove into our colliding pasts, we were able to piece together the underpinnings of what restoration looks like not only for us but for the boys that will enter into The Anchor House. It is uncanny how unearthing Restore One unearthed us. 

I believe that we didn’t choose Restore One but Restore One chose us.

I’m forever changed by precious people I’ve met these past four years. However, I’m not a better women by choosing to say “yes,” but I’m made more complete only by God’s artistry of my heart in the process. For I now see that we’ve not danced until we’ve wept; nor have we wept until we’ve danced. It is a privilege to sit with those who mourn, to sing with those who sing, and to bear the burden of human suffering on behalf of others. For even as Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, you and I are called to serve in this fashion. However, it’s God’s grace that continues to let the sparks of love grow in our hearts, so that we may enlarge with a grander empathy that heals human suffering outside ourselves. 

Freedom for All,

Anna Smith, Co-founder & Executive Director of Restore One

Help open The Anchor House

Call to Prayer

As we have been thinking about the future of Restore One, we have discussed the importance of prayer and how spiritual warfare affects us on a daily basis. Not only have I seen the effects of prayer in my personal life in so many different ways, but I have seen the difference it has made in Restore One.

I think as Christians there are times where we assume prayer is going to happen without really having to put much effort forward. Those times can almost be like a habit if you grew up in a Christian home or Christian school or grew up in church. You just kinda know you're supposed to pray. Like before a meal, before a big trip or conference, before a meeting, when you wake up or go to sleep, things like that. Prayer just happens at those points for a lot of Christians including myself. 

I've been working on making prayer more constant in my day instead at just those habitual moments. I think sometimes I forget I serve a God who is all-powerful but also so reachable. Even though He is so good, and so much better than me, He wants to hear about my struggles through the day. When I put more effort to stay in communication with Him, I can hear and see the Holy Spirit in my life so much more clearly. I also began to see myself rest in Him, and not rely on my strength to get through hard situations as much.

Praying at The Anchor House

Praying at The Anchor House

Just like we see in our personal life the difference constant prayer makes, it's the same in a ministry. While Restore One is an organization, it's also a ministry. A ministry that sees spiritual warfare, but also just really terrible situations that can be very emotionally draining. We know the best way to not get burned out or to make it through the hard situations is to rely on His power by staying in communication with Him. That is why Restore One has decided to increase our prayer team meetings to once a week instead of once a month. We are super excited about this, and can't wait to see what God's gonna do through this time! If you are interested in joining, please see below, or please just keep us in your prayers when you can. The power of prayer is strong, and your prayers make a difference.

Much love,

Mary Soltow

 

Are you interested in joining the Restore One prayer team? If so, email Mary at mary@restoreonelife.org